Gestation is a word describing the pregnancy for animals, and you can use 'gestation period' to describe how long a pregnancy generally takes for a species. I'd like to know if there's a corollary word for the time an animal stays with its parents before leaving.

For example, after birds are hatched, they stay in the nest for a while, but they eventually leave the nest. Is there a single word or phrase that is used to describe the time between hatching and leaving the nest? I imagine different bird species have different periods, and other animals (that don't stay within families their whole life) can also be describe in a similar matter. Perhaps 'puberty', though I'm guessing there's a more specific word.


1 Answer 1


As you talk about bird, most of the terminology I am suggesting below comes from the ornithology literature.

Fledging period

Defined on wikipedia:

Fledging is the stage in a volant animal's life between hatching or parturition and flight.

Nestling period

Defined in Kouba et al. (2015):

In altricial birds, the nestling period is an important part of the breeding phase because the juveniles may spend quite a long time in the nest, with associated high energy costs for the parents.

Rearing period

See its usage in for examples Yuan et al. (1994) and Brickell et al. (2009)


While the term juvenile does not refer to a period of time, you can refer to this concept as the period while children are still juvenile. From dictionary.com

a young bird in the stage when it has fledged, if altricial, or has replaced down of hatching, if precocial.


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